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Threat to Democracy; Interview With Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk; America's Climate Credibility; Interview with Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow Max Boot; Interview with Paula Rego's Son, Nick Willing. Aired 1-1:30p ET
Aired October 22, 2021 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone, and welcome to AMANPOUR.
Here's what's coming up.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will, in fact, get to net zero emissions on electric power by 2035.
AMANPOUR: But can he get it done? America's climate credibility on the line, as President Biden wrestles with his own party ahead of that major
summit in Glasgow.
HENRY KISSINGER, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: We are here to put an end to drift, confusion, retreat, and weakness.
AMANPOUR: "Master of the Game" author, diplomat Martin Indyk joins us on Henry Kissinger's shuttle diplomacy in the Middle East and lessons for
MAX BOOT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: We can't count on Republicans to uphold our democracy.
AMANPOUR: Longtime conservative columnist and historian Max Boot tells Walter Isaacson he believes his former party poses a major threat to
PAULA REGO, ARTIST: I'm really married to my pictures.
AMANPOUR: Paula Rego and her fears barrier-breaking art. Nick Willing joins me to talk about his mother's work and life.
AMANPOUR: Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
The prestige of the United States is on the line. Those are the words of President Joe Biden in an appeal to his own party, as Senator Joe Manchin
of West Virginia continues to block the signature part of Biden's climate legislation.
And this comes ahead of two important summits, where the U.S. will be expected to put forward bold climate commitments. In a CNN town hall, the
president has hinted that money which was going to be used to push the country's power sector to go green could instead be reallocated to other
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: The negotiation is, I have been saying to, Joe, look, I will take - - if we don't do it in terms of the electric grid piece, what we would do is, give me that $150 billion. I'm going to add it to be able to do other
things that allow me to do things that don't directly affect the electric grid in the way that there's a penalty, but allow me to spend the money to
set new technologies in place.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: We're going to break all this down because the stakes could not be higher.
The U.N. is warning that fossil fuel production by the world's major economies is -- quote -- "dangerously out of sync with limiting the
planet's warming to just 1.5 degrees."
So will the president be able to get it done? Can the world's second largest polluter, the United States, come good on its climate goals?
Joining me now is Leah Stokes, professor of climate and energy policy at U.C. Santa Barbara.
Welcome to the program.
So, Leah, I don't know where to start. Should we start with, what is this signature, as President Biden calls it, the electric grid piece? And what
is the significance of it being opposed and maybe being discarded?
LEAH STOKES, U.C. SANTA BARBARA: Sure.
So there was a provision called the Clean Electricity Performance Program. It moved out of committee in the House and was expected to pass the House.
But, unfortunately, Senator Manchin said that he does not want to move forward with that policy.
And what it would have done is clean up our electricity system, in line with President Biden's goal, which was to commit to 100 percent clean
electricity by 2035. It would have said to each electric utility in the country, you need to get 4 percentage points cleaner every year. We need to
move faster, because, the last year, we only did 2.3 percentage points, and that was the best year we have ever had.
And if utilities did not move fast enough, what it would have done is say, you have to pay a penalty. So what President Biden is saying is that we
need to take the $150 billion that was supposed to go to that program and reallocate it within the power sector towards investments that keep us
moving in the right direction, but also in other parts of our economy to make sure that the package is going to cut pollution.
Because the thing to note is that that $150 billion was a quarter of the climate spending, and the program was going to deliver one-third of the
pollution cuts. So we have to figure out, how are we going to fill that hole both in terms of spending and pollution cuts?
AMANPOUR: Well, how do you think they -- it looks like they're negotiating now with Joe Manchin over that $150 billion.
I mean, that's what the president said in that clip, that they can reallocate this to other green energy programs. Can they? And would they be
as effective as this -- the one you have just outlined?
STOKES: Yes, I think that the White House needs to stay laser-focused on the climate crisis.
They have a commitment to cut carbon pollution 50 percent this decade. And that puts us on path to these Paris agreement targets of limiting warming
by 1.5 degrees. So, we have to cut that carbon pollution by 50 percent this decade.
And with that program not being part of the package, we have got that hole of about one-third of the carbon pollution. So what we need is for the
White House and leaders, like Majority Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi, to figure out how they're going to deliver those pollution cuts.
And it can't just be in other sectors of the economy. It has to be in the power sector as well. Like President Biden was saying in the clip you
played, we can have the incentive side of the program. We could invest in cleaning up our electricity grid. And that's really important, because the
way to clean up our economy is by having clean electricity power, our homes, and our cars and even parts of heavy industry.
AMANPOUR: This is what President Biden, Joe Biden, said about Joe Manchin, repeatedly name-checking him during this important town hall, calling him a
friend, and essentially laying out Manchin's singular opposing -- why he opposes this thing, particularly for his state. Let's just take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: Joe Manchin's argument is: Look, we still have coal in my state. You're going to eliminate it eventually. We know it's going away. We know
it's going to be gone, but don't rush it so fast that my people don't have anything to do.
I think that's not what we should be doing. But the fact of the matter is, we can take that $150 billion, add it to the $320 billion that's in the law
now that he's prepared to support for tax incentives, tax incentives, to have people act in a way that they're going to be able to do the things
that need to be do...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, again, he's talking about that -- his signature deal and what to do with the other $150 billion -- or that $150 billion.
I want to ask you, because you talked about one-third, two-thirds. So as you rightly say this think tank Energy Innovation says that even without
the CEPP, there would be two-thirds of emissions cut down, even if that one-third isn't. Is that good enough? Can the U.S., can the world live with
STOKES: Unfortunately, climate change doesn't work that way. You can't solve two-thirds of the problem and call it a success.
And that's because we actually have to limit warming. We have seen what one degrees of Celsius of warming looks like. It looks like the United States
spending half-a-trillion dollars almost on weather and climate disasters last year alone.
So if we're talking about investing over half-a-trillion dollars over 10 years to stop the problem, that's really a drop in the bucket compared to
the costs of climate inaction. And so, no, we actually need the package to use every single dollar that was allocated towards climate spending.
And we need to make sure we have a plan to cut carbon pollution 50 percent by 2030, which is what President Biden has promised he will deliver.
AMANPOUR: So, just to be clear, could they still meet their targets, even without the CEPP part of it?
STOKES: I think that they can. And that's really what leaders in Congress and the White House are focused on right now. And we need to keep that
pressure up to make sure that they deliver those pollution cuts.
There are other ways we can save pollution. We can, for example, as President Biden said, have incentives in the power sector, where we say,
hey, if states are going to move faster on cleaning up their electricity systems, let's provide them with resources to help them move faster.
We can say that, in the industrial sector, let's have programs to invest in cleaning up our heavy industries, like cement and steel. Let's have
programs to help people in their homes get rid of gas in their stoves and their furnaces, so that we can use cleaner electricity in our homes
The president has to figure out a plan for how he's going to redeploy that $150 billion and deliver the same pollution cuts that we were going to have
before Senator Manchin killed the signature part of the climate bill.
AMANPOUR: And what do you think this does?
I mean, you focus on policy over these issues. And this is coming barely a week before the Glasgow COP 26 climate conference. What effect will this
have on America's credibility? The president himself is going there with all his top climate officials.
STOKES: Well, I think that this is what's on everybody's minds.
The White House really needs to deliver on its climate promise. It said that it was going to put us on a path to cutting carbon pollution 50
percent this decade. And it also said that we would get to 80 percent clean power by 2030 and 100 percent clean power by 2035.
And so we need to redeploy that $150 billion to deliver on the pollution cuts and deliver on cleaning up our electricity system this decade. It
doesn't have to be with sticks. It can be with carrots, as President Biden is saying. But we really do need investments in our power sector to take on
the climate crisis.
AMANPOUR: OK, so that's interesting, because the big one, the clean energy one that we have been talking about, involves sticks and carrots or carrots
And, as you said, it involves punitive measures if those companies don't do what they are meant to do under that program. I understand that the others
that are being discussed are voluntary. They don't have any punitive measures or those kinds of really intense incentives to actually go green
STOKES: That is true. But that doesn't mean that they're not effective.
If we were to put $150 billion into decarbonizing our grid, that would make a difference. If we were to say to states, hey, let's compete against one
another to make progress, to make sure our grid is reliable, to avoid things like what happened in Texas earlier this year, where the grid really
got destabilized because investments were not made in our electricity system, we can invest in this program -- in this problem and make really
big progress, not just on decarbonization and cleaning up our grid for climate change, but also in making sure that our grid is reliable, and can
deliver as we deal with more weather and climate disasters.
AMANPOUR: And briefly and finally, many people in the policy sphere and in the climate sphere believe that nothing short of a carbon tax is actually
going to solve the issue of going green in time to cut the emissions in time and all of the things we have been hearing about.
Do you think that's a total likelihood in these negotiations, or will these negotiations lead to that?
STOKES: Well, Senator Manchin already said I believe on Tuesday this week that a carbon tax was not on the table. So I don't think that is what's
What we are talking about are investments in industrial pollution, in the power sector, in our buildings. How can we redeploy that $150 billion to
deliver on President Biden's promises to clean up the grid this decade, and to cut our carbon pollution economy-wide in half by 2030?
AMANPOUR: Leah Stokes, thank you so much indeed for joining us.
Now the groundbreaking soldier statesman former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, as we know, died this week, and he played an instrumental
role in shaping military and foreign policy over the course of his four decades in public service. And he was the first black secretary of state
and broke so many frontiers.
Another paragon of U.S. diplomacy, who, like Powell, also attained celebrity status, is one of his predecessors, Henry Kissinger. A new book
by Martin Indyk, "Master of the Game," Looks at Kissinger's role in the Middle East and what we can learn from his political philosophy.
Indyk is a former U.S. ambassador to Israel and the former special envoy for the Israeli Palestinian peace negotiations in the Clinton and Obama
administrations. And he's joining me now.
Welcome back to the program, Martin Indyk.
I guess my first question is, why Henry Kissinger? Why did you decide to pick this man, who, as you know, is controversial -- there are many people
who don't approve of quite a lot of his foreign policy -- and use him as this, I guess, sort of watermark for the Middle East and for other
important international policy?
MARTIN INDYK, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO ISRAEL: Well, I think a lot of people don't know that Kissinger actually spent the four years of his time
as secretary of state working the peace process in the Middle East.
His successful efforts at detente with the Soviet Union and the opening to China and his somewhat less successful efforts in other parts of the world
like Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia were all while he was national security adviser.
But when he became secretary of state, that's when he devoted himself to peacemaking in the Middle East. And that's what I thought was worth looking
at in detail, especially because four presidents, the last four presidents, and two of them I worked with on the peace process, haven't had much
success at it.
And I decided after the last failure that I was involved in, which was the last Israeli-Palestinian negotiations to take place, seven years ago, that
I needed to go back and look at a successful effort, and Kissinger's, all the documents involved, all the protocols of his meetings, and his phone
calls everything, basically, plus the Israeli archives, all open now and available.
And I also thought, Christiane, that it would be useful to take people back into the rooms where diplomacy is done, because I think very few people
understand exactly how diplomacy looks, and have a look at the guy, Kissinger, who is the master of the game.
AMANPOUR: OK, so that title of your book, of course, and you do -- you seem to have had a huge amount of archives and resources to draw on.
So break down then his philosophy and why his was successful and yours failed, essentially. I mean, from -- I mean, basically, his philosophy was
not idealism, and it wasn't about peace, necessarily, in terms of using that word. It was about order. And it was about pragmatism.
Tell us what that all means.
INDYK: Exactly, Christiane.
It was -- Kissinger was quite skeptical of peace, at least as an endgame, an end to the conflict. He saw that, the effort to pursue an end-of-
conflict peace, as problematic, because if it were pursued with too much passionate, it often achieved, in his study of history, the opposite.
So, for him, peace was, in some ways, a problem, not a solution. And he preferred order, a stable balance of power. But he recognized in the Middle
East, after the outbreak of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, which happened on his watch, that order alone, a stability produced by balance of power alone,
was not enough. There needed to be a peace process to legitimize that order and address the grievances of powers involved in the order, so that they
wouldn't go back to war.
AMANPOUR: So, Martin Indyk, I mean, you say he said there needed to be a process.
All I have ever heard from subsequent administrations, people, like yourself and other colleagues, is about process, the Oslo peace process,
all these processes that have endlessly been carried on over the last several decades since Kissinger and, as you say, have failed.
So, what was his big success? Remind everybody.
INDYK: Well, he negotiated four Arab-Israeli agreements, the cease-fire in Yom Kippur War, then two agreements between Israel and Egypt, which took
Egypt out of the Arab-Israeli conflict, and then one between Israel and Syria which legitimized Egypt's move out of the conflict, but also
stabilized the situation on the Golan Heights.
And that agreement is lasted to this day and kept the Golan Heights peaceful, even through the civil war in Syria and the efforts by Iran to
advance up on the Golan Heights. So he was indeed successful.
But your point about the process is a good one, because there was a lot of criticism that there was too much process and not enough peace. And it was
a criticism that I also voiced at the time. But what I didn't understand, and I don't think it's generally understood, is that the people that came
after Kissinger and the presidents that came after him, including myself in those efforts, were focused on ending the conflict.
Our process was much less process and much less -- much more focused on peace, reaching out for the Holy Grail of an end of the conflict. That's
what we tried to do at Camp David. That's what we tried to do in the last round of Israeli-Palestinian negotiators. That's what Trump tried to do.
That's what George Bush tried to do when he finally got around to it.
And Kissinger's argument was that there needed to be a gradual, incremental process, step-by-step deployments. That, by the way, is what Rabin
introduced in the Oslo Accords, a step-by-step, three-phase withdrawal, without defining what the outcome would be. But after he was assassinated,
we jumped to try to end the conflict. And then it exploded in our faces.
And so I think that is the real lesson, is that...
AMANPOUR: OK, so let me ask you.
INDYK: ... peace process is not a dirty word.
AMANPOUR: And peace and equal rights are also not dirty words. And I use that word because the new Biden administration, in terms of its efforts in
that direction, they keep using the word equal.
That's what "The Atlantic" has written about, and statements like Israelis and Palestinians equally deserve to live safely and securely. And you say
this is completely new.
So, new why? Because the Americans were never, what, honest brokers or what?
INDYK: No, we tried to be honest brokers. But we were and remain firmly in Israel's corner.
And to talk about equal rights, it a nice thought. I support it. Who doesn't? But it's not a realistic formula. And, essentially, we have an
interest in Israel having peace with the Palestinians.
But we come at it from a pro-Israel point of view. People often criticize that, saying we can't be an honest broker because of that. But what
Kissinger showed and what has been the case ever since is that the Arabs come to Washington when they want their grievances addressed precisely
because the United States is in Israel's corner.
And they want the United States to use its leverage on Israel to deliver territory that has been taken by Israel in order to -- for them -- their
grievances to be addressed.
AMANPOUR: So do you think there's any likelihood that will happen? And then I want to ask you about Afghanistan in relation to the Middle East.
INDYK: So I think that Joe Biden, when he was vice president, saw very clearly what happened in the last round of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations
that I was involved in.
That was, as I said, seven years ago. And he saw that the parties were further apart at the end of that effort than they were at the beginning.
You can blame that on the mediators, but it also reflected the reality of how the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has deepened, hardened in many ways,
become kind of sclerotic.
And so I don't think Joe Biden, with all of his other priorities, especially the need to address the rise of China, is going to embark on a
new effort to try to end the conflict. But what I argue, based on Kissinger's experience, is that what we need is not an end to the conflict,
but a process that will lead to that, a return to that dirty word that you used, a step-by-step effort, incrementally, to improve the relationship
between the Israelis and the Palestinians, so that we can then go back to a final status negotiation.
The Israeli government, which can't make big steps, because it's a left- right coalition that doesn't agree on what to do about the Palestinians, is beginning to take economic steps. We need to get behind that and get them
to take bigger steps and get them to take political steps, territorial steps as well.
And the Palestinians are beginning to respond positively to that. And that's the kind of peace process that we need.
AMANPOUR: About Afghanistan, you basically said that the exit shows this administration and the United States turning away from that region.
What is the impact of that U.S. turning its attention elsewhere? What would Kissinger have done about that or thought about that? I mean, he's still
alive. What does he think about that?
INDYK: I think one of the advantages I had in writing this book was that I had access to him and interviewed him about 12 times for it. So I have some
idea of what he thinks on this subject. And, at 98, he's still going strong.
One of the -- but the interesting thing about Kissinger and the current situation is that Kissinger engaged in his Middle East diplomacy after the
withdrawal from Vietnam, when, just like Biden and his withdrawal from Afghanistan, putting troops on the ground in the Middle East is not an
option. It wasn't an option for Kissinger then, isn't an option for Biden today.
So he used diplomacy. Biden refers to relentless diplomacy is what's necessary now. That's exactly what Kissinger did, relentless diplomacy.
You probably remember how he spent 30 days on the road just to get an Israeli-Syrian agreement, making 13 shuttle trips between Jerusalem and
Damascus to get to get that agreement. And that's the kind of relentless diplomacy that's necessary in Asia, but also in the Middle East.
As we focus on Asia now, in effect, pivot to Asia, we can't just back our backs on...
AMANPOUR: I need to ask you about that, Martin, because...
But it's quite dramatic, because President Biden last night reiterated that the United States would keep up its commitments to defend Taiwan if there
was a military or other threat from China. The Chinese reacted pretty furiously today, warning the U.S. to -- quote -- "not send any wrong
signals to the separatist forces of Taiwan independence."
What do you -- how do you think that's going to go? And, of course, in the Kissingerian mode -- he's the famous one who negotiated the rapprochement
between communist China and the United States in '72.
Well, I think that, in a Kissingerian mode, what what's necessary here is deterrence, but also an effort to talk to the Chinese in a way and reach an
understanding, so that we don't get into a conflict with them over Taiwan. We need to back them off there.
But if we get involved in a conflict over Taiwan, I'm not at all sure how long the American people are going to be supporting that kind of
confrontation. So I do think that we need both a clear deterrent, way of deterring the Chinese, but also a way of talking to them.
"Master of the Game," about Henry Kissinger.
Martin Indyk, thank you so much for joining us.
Now, a recent poll suggests that nearly 80 percent of Republicans want Donald Trump to run again in 2024.
"The Washington Post" columnist and former conservative Republican Max Boot hoped that people would no longer listen to the siren song of populism
because he blames Trump for leading the growing extremism within the party.
And Max Boot now joins Walter Isaacson to explore why so many Republicans are in his thrall and whether it will help or harm the GOP at the next
WALTER ISAACSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Thank you, Christiane.
And, Max Boot, welcome to the show.
MAX BOOT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Good to be here.
ISAACSON: You have worked for a very long time, a traditional conservative Republican, and now you're calling the Republican Party an existential
threat to democracy.
I mean, those are pretty strong words, meaning they threaten the existence of democracy. Why have you come to that conclusion?
BOOT: Well, I think all you have to do, Walter, is look at the events of the past year.
These are things that we never thought we would see happening. But they happened. Of course, you had a president who refused to accept the election
outcome. That is completely unprecedented in American history. That is the very foundation of any democracy, is that the loser has to accept the
And Donald Trump has refused to do that. And not only did he refuse to accept the outcome, but, of course, on January 6, he incited a mob attack
on the U.S. Capitol, again, another completely unprecedented event.
Now, you would think, after Donald Trump had shown that he was willing to destroy American democracy in order to stay in office, you would think
that, at that point, the Republican Party would disassociate itself from Donald Trump.
But, of course, that is not what has happened in the many months since then. Instead, those who question or criticize Donald Trump are being
driven out of the party. Of course, you saw the way that Liz Cheney lost her number three position in the House Republican Caucus because she kept
calling out the big lie.
She refused to repeat the big lie that Donald Trump won the election, and she wants to probe what happened on January 6, and that places certain her
in a distinct, very small minority within the Republican Party, because the rest of the Republican Party has basically gone along with Donald Trump.
In fact, there was just a new poll out which shows that something like 80 percent of Republicans want Trump to run for the presidency again in 2024,
even though he has shown his willingness to wage war on our democracy. And that, unfortunately, places the Republican Party on the authoritarian side
of a democratic-vs.-authoritarian divide.
They are not just anti-democratic, big D Democratic. Right now, they are anti-small-D democratic as well.
ISAACSON: You have said that you have become a single issue voter. And your single issue is protecting democracy.
What does that mean in practice?
BOOT: Well, in practice, that means voting for Democrats because unfortunately, at this point in time, we count on Republicans to uphold our
democracy. You had a majority of Republicans on Capitol Hill, especially in the House, even after the horrible attack of January 6th, even after that,
you had a majority that voted to overturn or not accept some of the electoral results of the election. They refuse to accept the results in
some of the states that Donald Trump lost.
And since then, the Republican Party has moved even further toward the big lie, which is now embraced by the majority of the Republican electorate and
opposed by very few Republican elected officials. And, so can you imagine what would happen in 2024 if Republicans control both chambers of Congress
and if they control many of the state legislatures? And once again, you see a result where Donald Trump loses the popular vote by a large margin, but
he's close in the Electoral College vote under those circumstances, can you be -- have any degree of confidence that Republicans would actually
recognize a Democratic victory? I'm very, very concerned that under those circumstances Republicans would
actually carry out the kind of coup attempt that failed in January of this year.
And so, to avoid that horrible scenario, which I think would really be the death nail for our democracy, I think it's imperative to vote for Democrats
right now. And I don't care if you disagree with the Democrats on some issues, I disagree with the Democrats on some issues, but to my mind, you
know, the size of the build back better bill is a lot less important than whether we will continue to be a democracy.
ISAACSON: You were born in Moscow. You came over here as a young child. You became a great scholar. You became a commentator. But you're very
familiar with authoritarian regimes. You write about it a lot and what I would call the collaborationist instinct. What is it about Republican Party
that has made them into collaborationists?
BOOT: You know, that's a great question without an easier or obvious answer, but there is no question that going back for decades, Republicans
have been showing increasing contempt for the truth, increasing willingness to engage in conspiracy theories like the, you know, birtherism nonsense
that helped to bring Donald Trump to power. And you have seen them being willing to flop Democratic norms to win power.
You saw a small example of that in 2000 when the George W. Bush campaign went all out to win a closely contested election over Al Gore. You saw it,
you know, more recently with Mitch McConnell who was been willing to bend the rules into pretzels in order to, for example, avoid confirming Merrick
Garland as President Obama's Supreme Court nominee and during an election year and in 2016. And then, you know, McConnell turns around and confirms a
Trump Supreme Court nominee just days before the 2020 election.
So, I think there has just been a general and growing contempt for Democratic norms within the Republican Party and a growing receptivity to
extremism, to conspiracy theories, to racism, nativism, xenophobia. And Donald Trump came along and turbo charged all of those trends. And I think
it's accurate to say that, you know, prior to Trump, the Republican Party had a substantial extremist minority.
Right now, however, the extremists are the ones who are in control of the entire party and there's been a shameful advocation of responsibility on
the part of the elites, people like Senator McConnell, who know better but refuse to stand up for what they believe is right.
ISAACSON: You work for Mitt Romney, you work for John McCain, and then, for Senator Marco Rubio against Donald Trump.
BOOT: That's one I regret it.
ISAACSON: Yes. So, tell me why you regret it? I mean, he -- what has happened to him? How has he succumbed to that wing of the party that you
were so frightened about?
BOOT: Well, this -- you know, this has been one of the monumental disappointments of my life. A lot of people in the Republican Party that I
once believed in have failed the test of Trump, they have the failed the character test of Trump, including folks like Paul Ryan, but also
certainly, Marco Rubio, who I thought stood for something better in 2015 and 2016. And I remember when I was cheering him, when he was saying that
there's no way that somebody like Donald Trump should be allowed to get his hand on our nuclear weapons.
He was saying that Donald Trump was unqualified, unfit to be president, and I applauded that. So, I was shocked when he endorsed Donald Trump. And now,
he's become more Trumpy over time and he actually is emulating Trump in a lot of his cheap shot attacks on the media. Basically, I just think that he
sees it as, to his political advantage, to be Trump's lickspittle, which is probably true in Florida and certainly true in Republican politics but it's
really disappointing to see.
On the other hand, I will add that I'm, you know, still very proud of having worked for Senator Romney because he is somebody who has passed the
character test. He has stood up to Trump. He has called him out. He voted to impeach Trump. So, you know, I think Mitt Romney still represents the
best of the Republican Party. And unfortunately, Marco Rubio represents the worst.
ISAACSON: You've talked at times about Republicans either pretending to be or acting out as if they were the stupid party. I mean, almost
intentionally. And the senator from here in Louisiana, Senator John Kennedy, somebody went to Vanderbilt and Oxford, University of Virginia
plays that role. Explain that phenomenon where people have to sort of pretend if they're going to be Republicans not to be abdicated or --
BOOT: Well, this is kind of the cost of being a populist party. And, of course, what you're saying at this great educational sorting out on
American politics where it used to be the case that college graduates backed the Republican Party. Right now, college graduates increasingly
migrate to the Democratic Party and the Republican Party has become kind of a blue-collar high school graduate party, very strong in rural areas, very
weak in high-income urban areas.
And so, Republican politicians basically adjust themselves to these trends. And some of them, you know, really represent the base. I mean, folks like
Marjorie Taylor Greene who is, you know, I would say, out of her mind. I mean, she is somebody who has embraced QAnon conspiracy theories, has
compared, you know, vaccine mandates to the Nazis, just saying completely crazy, crazy stuff. But then, there are others like John Kennedy and many
others who are much smarter, better educated, know better, but they nevertheless feel compelled to play this corn-pone act.
And Ted Cruz is another great example. All this kind of IV league populists who pretend to be a lot dumber than they are because that's what the
Republican Party wants. And it's -- unfortunately, it's a very destructive and corrosive trend because they wind up, you know, embracing conspiracy
theories about the election and then, they also refuse to acknowledge, for example, the science of climate change, which is not really open for debate
anymore and yet, Republican Party remains in denial about the terrible threat to our planet.
ISAACSON: What about Tucker Carlson, somebody you know? To what extent do you think he's just cynical? To what extent do you think he really believes
this? And how dangerous do you think his campaign against believing in vaccinations has been?
BOOT: Well, the last question is the easiest to answer. I mean, what Tucker Carlson is doing is incredibly dangerous. He has the number one
cable show in America reaching millions of people every night. And when he's not propagating the great replacement conspiracy theory beloved of
white supremacists, he's undermining vaccines. And so, he is really doing great damage to the American body politic and to American health. I mean,
he is endangering people. What he's doing is highly irresponsible. It's a disgrace that Rupert Murdoch and Lachlan Murdoch are paying him to do this.
This is just a bane on America.
You asked, you know, Walter, the tougher question, does Tucker actually believe all this nonsense that he peddles? I don't know the answer to that.
I mean, I remember Tucker from, you know, decades ago and we were both working at the "Weekly Standard" and he was a -- seemed like a smart
sensible writer. But pretty clearly, he's gone off the deep end, whether out of ideological conviction or simply because it's so lucrative for him
to do so. But either way, he's become a demagogue and truly a menace to America.
ISAACSON: From a historical perspective, why is this happening, this sort of populist anti-science, anti-truth sentiment, not just Donald Trump but
throughout the Republican Party and not just Republican Party? It seems to have permeated elements of society. What's causing it?
BOOT: Well, big picture, I would say, it's probably one of the effects of the economic transition that we are going through right now. Where you're
going through a transition from an industrial to an information age economy, and that has produced some very big winners, you know, like all
the billionaires who run these major websites.
And it's also producing a lot of losers. People who have been left behind economically and, you know, those shuttered industrial towns throughout the
Midwest. And it's also producing great disparities of wealth and, you know, we have -- in the U.S., we have one of the highest levels of income
inequality among advanced industrialized democracies.
And so, you know, I think that there is a lot of misery out there, a lot of dissatisfaction. There's also been, you know, frankly, a lot of perceived
failures on the part of the elites in Washington, whether the Iraq War, Afghanistan War, you know, the financial and economic crash in 2008 and
2009. So, there's a lot of dissatisfaction and kind of a lot of people on both the left and right trying to feel like we want to blow it all up, and
that was, you know, a lot of the impetus, of course, for Donald Trump's staggering and surprising victory in 2016.
But I would think -- I would hope that we would learn something from the last four years, which is that demagogues in populous like Donald Trump,
they don't have the answers. They're very good on capitalizing on misery but they can't actually ameliorate it They don't have the answers. I mean,
Donald Trump promised that all the trends of deindustrialization that have been going on for decades would miraculously be reversed under his
presidency, that the trade deficit would disappear. That's all nonsense. None of that happened. The trade definite actually got wider. There was no
change in the deindustrialization.
So, I would hope that after the experience of the Trump presidency, people would wise up a little bit and not listen to the siren song of populism.
ISAACSON: We've had a recent spike in the coronavirus. It now seems to be tamping down a little bit. But you said that instead of blaming Biden for
the recent spike, it's really the Republicans more to blame. Why is that?
BOOT: All you have to do is look at the numbers of people who are getting vaccinated. About 90 percent of Democrats have gotten vaccinated compared
to only 58 percent of Republicans. There is huge and unwarranted skepticism of vaccines on the right, which, again, is being fed every single night by
Fox News channel which glorifies vaccine resisters, even though, by the way, you know, well over 95 percent of Fox's own employees are vaccinated.
It's just this horrible catering to these anti-vaccine conspiracy theorists, anti-Washington populists. And it's utterly shameful the extent
to which the leadership of the Republican Party has connived on this, where, you know, you have Kevin McCarthy, the House Republican leader,
screaming no vaccine mandates. Well, guess what? We already have vaccine mandates to attend any school in this country including at any red state
that you want to name. Your kids have to have proof they're vaccinated against polio, diphtheria, tuberculosis, various other diseases. So, why is
adding a COVID vaccine suddenly so controversial?
It shouldn't be. This is just this animus against science and elites in -- against the Democratic Party, which is now in charge in Washington, this is
-- these are just the sentiments that have run amuck and they're endangering our country. They are killing people and they are making it
very hard for President Biden to achieve the kind of levels of vaccination that we need to achieve in order to stop the pandemic, and that's -- you
know, I think he's doing a good job with his mandates, but I think it's really shameful, the extent to which the Republican Party, especially in
states like Texas and Florida, is trying to undermine those mandates and they are endangering people's lives to score political points.
ISAACSON: Max Boot, thank you so much for joining us.
BOOT: Thanks for having me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And of course, as we've reported, so many strong men and authoritarians around the world look to the United States to get their
cues. So, it is an important conversation.
Now, from American politics to the gallery walls of the art world. A major retrospective of the painter, Paula Rego's work is under way here in
London's Tate Britain Museum. She was born in Portugal and grew under a fascist dictatorship in the 1930s and '40s. And eventually, made Britain
her home. She's known for her uncompromising approach. And Rego has fiercely taken on fascism and also, she's explored women's rights in a
very, very brave way.
Her son, the filmmaker, Nick Willing, has made it a big part his own work to solidify his mother's well-deserved place in history. And he's joining
me now me live from Paula Rego's studio right here in London.
Nick Willing, welcome at that to the program.
And I just want to ask you how your mother feels about this amazing recognition. How do you feel about it? Because this is, you know, the
retrospective of all of her work, even pieces that she created when she was ay 15 years old. She's in her 80s now.
NICK WILLING, PAULA REGO'S SON: Well, it's a huge honor for her. But, you know -- and it's a dream come true because she's been knocking at the door
of the Tate for almost all her adult life. But unfortunately, the art world is a world run by men for men until only recently. And so, the fact that
they've actually eventually opened the door to her is, for her, a dream come true.
AMANPOUR: You know, Nick, you're absolutely right and it's important to be reminded that there are very few female artists, you know, exhibited in
these major museums. And I just want to just ask you to reflect on this. Obviously, this retrospective is getting rave reviews. But here's a line
from the F.D. This retrospective proves that no artist has more powerfully subverted male painterly tradition to express the modern female experience,
talking obviously about your mother, Paula Rego. Break that down for us.
WILLING: Well, in the late '80s, she was invited by the National Gallery to be their first artist and residence there. And an artist in residence is
supposed to draw inspiration from the work at the National Gallery. And she initially turned that down because she said, it's a gallery filled with the
work of men about men. And there's nothing really for me there.
But then, a week later, after thinking about that, she rang back and said, well, actually, because it's a gallery of men by men, I want to have a go.
And what she did in some of that work is shown in this exhibition here, this wonderful picture called time, past and present, in which she takes
the classical, even renaissance and baroque painting and structure and symbolism and subverts it in order to reflect female experience.
And that reminds us, I think, that for centuries, millennia, even, the art world has been really just seen through the looking glass of 50 percent of
the population. And women were almost never reflected or shown.
AMANPOUR: I just want to, you know, take note of where you are because your background is amazing and you are obviously in your mother's studio.
And there are all these dolls and there's -- I can see easels and, you know, kind of props and things that turned up in her art. So, the one
picture we have that can talk a little bit about, you know, the sort of props, the dolls, the animal faces that she used to explain certain things
is the one that's called War.
And this -- I want to you to tell me about it because this was triggered by an image that she saw of Iraqi civilians after a bomb explosion in Basra
during the 2003 American, you know, invasion, American intervention there. What was she saying with these rabbit pictures and the other animal heads
that she is using?
WILLING: Well, she saw a photograph of a little girl in the newspaper, of a little girl covered in blood, running towards camera in a dress that she
thought looked very much like the sort of dresses her cousin, Manuela, would wear when she was young. And it really brought the wall very close to
her heart that made it quite personal suddenly to her and she thought, I've got to do something.
And what she chose to do initially when she painted people in violent scenarios, in war-like scenarios, she felt that it looked rather
sentimental and overly melodramatic. And then, of course, typical of my mother's brain, she thought, well, what if I used rabbits? We can do
anything to rabbits and people don't care. So, she made the rabbits out of paper mache, these rather grotesque, rather extraordinary rabbits and tried
to reflect the sense of violence and extreme horror through what is a kind of uncanny image, which is the juxtaposition of a doll which we might see
in children's setting in a violent war-like scenario, which -- and it's the clash of those two opposites that seem to make it more powerful. And I
think that's what --
AMANPOUR: Sorry to interrupt you. But I just wanted to pick up what you were saying in your mother's incredible mind, this is what she did. And in
the documentary, you did about her, she talks about what goes through her mind sometimes when she begins a painting. And so, I'm -- or work of art.
I'm going to play a little bit of that conversation that she had with you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAULA REGO, PAINTER: When I'm doing a picture and I've got the story and I don't know where to put it, like, you know, the background setting for it,
I go back to a place I knew as a child. I'm really married to my pictures. When I do something that I feel maybe is good, I feel so much better.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, I'm really fascinated by what she says. We've explained how she goes back to her childhood to -- in the last picture, we talked about.
But there's a whole series in which she depicts arranged marriages. She has a whole series of the bride. She talks about what women were expected to
do, the less, the better, of a certain class. And we've got this picture called The Bride. And she then, did also a lot of political art. The idea
of, you know, the right to an abortion in Portugal was very, very contentious. A referendum failed, I think, in the late '90s. And then, she
painted people, young women or women who had had to have, let's say, back alley illegal abortions. And apparently, was blamed for having that
referendum pass. Talk to us about her commitment to women's rights.
WILLING: This is her -- those pictures, the abortion pictures which she called Untitled are the pictures that she regards as amongst the most
important that she's ever done. Because she felt so passionate when that first referendum in Portugal failed, because not enough women went out to
vote. They were too embarrassed. They stayed home. And so, she was so incensed. I remember her saying, I went -- we're out to Sunday lunch and I
remember her saying to me, my God. Why don't people realize that this is a public health issue? It's got nothing to do with left and right. It's got
to do with keeping our daughters and our wives and our mothers safe.
Because, of course, backstreet abortions will happen whether you legalize abortion, whether -- even when you don't legalize abortion. So, what she
did is she -- the only thing she knows how, which is set about making a series of pictures in which she casts sometimes schoolgirls as having just
had -- they're not -- they are pictures that describe the emotional turmoil and the pain and the anguish. They're not bloody or horrific pictures.
They're emotional pictures in that sense. And that's what she wanted to do.
And it's true that once they were shown in Portugal, particularly at the Gulbenkian Foundation, it did change a lot of minds. And this is one of the
things that Paula has done for her country of her birth, Portugal, is she's allowed the people to talk about the taboo subjects that they would find
otherwise difficult to discuss. By bringing out into the open, then what happened was chapters started to talk about it, radio shows started to talk
about it. And suddenly, women were encouraged to go out and vote.
And the second time they held the vote in 2007, it did pass. And in fact, the president, Jorge Sampaio, told me that was largely because of her
AMANPOUR: It is extraordinary, her impact. And, obviously, this is an amazing retrospective. She also, with her art, you know, combatted fascism
that she'd grown up under and political intolerance. We have a beautiful picture called "The Dance."
But over that, I wanted to ask you, which is about generations and it's just gorgeous, and we'll put that up. But I wanted to ask you, is she still
painting? How is your mother? Will she paint some more? What is she focused on right now?
WILLING: She is unwell. Unfortunately. Which is why I'm speaking to you perhaps on the studio rather than her, because she would be here 24/7
otherwise. This is where she lived most of her life, is in her studio, which is her playground. She's unwell. Just recovered from COVID.
She had it for -- even though she was double vaxxed, she got COVID. And so, she suffered quite a bit, 10 days in bed with a high temperature. But she's
also had a couple of strokes and has become very, very fragile. She still paints. She still draws. That's the only thing she's ever lived for,
really. And so, she still does it, but it's not as it was.
AMANPOUR: Well, we thank you for being here to talk about her. It's an amazing retrospective. Her art is just incredible. And we wish her all the
best. Thank you so much, Nick Willing.
That is it for now. Good-bye from London.